Early figures show that while this winter is on track for fairly average temperatures and rainfall, it could be among the sunniest in our UK record dating back to 1929.
If we have average sunshine for the rest of February, it’s likely to be in the top few sunniest winters and could potentially beat the 2001 record of 189 hours.
Between 1 Dec -16 Feb many areas have already received more than their long-term average winter sunshine for the full season (1 Dec – 28 Feb), especially parts of the Midlands, eastern Scotland and north-east England.
December and January were both sunny across much of the country – especially eastern areas, while northern England and eastern Scotland have had a sunny February so far.
As we near the end of winter it looks as though temperatures will be close to the long-term average with December warmer than average, January near average and February so far being just below.
For many it has been a dry winter so far across southern, eastern and north-east England but relatively wet across Scotland, with the north-west having a wet December and January.
Dry start to February
The first half of February has seen some dry settled weather thanks to high pressure dominating the weather for much of the period.
Using figures from 1-16 February, temperatures have generally been around 1 to 1.5 °C below normal across the UK as a whole and clear skies have allowed fog and frosty conditions to develop at times.
Many areas have been on the dry side, with less than 20 percent of expected rainfall so far across large swathes of the country – we’d normally expect around half of the monthly average to have fallen by now.
Sunshine amounts have been variable but parts of northern England and eastern Scotland have already received almost the whole-month average.